There’s a lot of power in knowing what’s working and what’s not. It prevents you from wasting your time, energy and resources on distractions.

Without the progress you’ve made in the past, you wouldn’t be where you are today. If you really want to perform at the top level in any area of your life, you need written targets, actions, and past insights. How can you tell how well you’re doing if you can’t measure your progress?

Progress measurement involves taking a broader view and assessing whether your personal productivity system is working for you or against you. Think of it like a performance review for your life and career.

When you know what’s not working, you can allocate more time for activities that are helping you reach your goals. You can cut out the things that are failing to make an impact for you.

Just about every life or career goal is made up of people, processes, resources, along with daily priorities and actions needed to get there. It’s important to question your processes, systems, resources, timelines, and actions to successfully achieve your outcome goals. And of course the daily priorities.

Keeping score of your actions helps you identify habit trends and see what’s working and what’s not, and most importantly why is it not working. “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” Thomas Spencer Monson, an American religious leader, and author said that.

Measure your progress instead of your results

Highly efficient people improve their performance and accelerate their improvement because they keep an eye on the actions that deliver the most results. They lead the 80/20 lifestyle. I’m sure you’ve heard of the Pareto principle, known also as the 80/20 rule: The principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Efficient people maximise the 20% causes that lead to the 80% effects.

How many of your activities got you closer to your goals last month? How many were a waste of time? To 10x your results, pick the 20% of your tasks that yield 80% of the results each month and double the effort.

In “The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success,” author Darren Hardywrites“It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.”

Instead of focusing on the bigger outcome, concentrate on your small actions, measure them, adapt, and repeat. Narrows your focus to the most important actions rather than looking at the goal as one big step or achievement.

A monthly personal review changes everything: to move forward, it pays to look backwards for insight

Goal progress should be measured by where you are now compared to where you used to be. Take time to analyze your life and career goals and how productive your strategies and actions have been over the week or month. A regular weekly or monthly review can help you reflect on the passing weeks and do more of what’s working.

It’s important to choose how often you’ll track. Sometimes, tracking progress once a week may be too much for your schedule. it’s best to stick to a schedule you can sustain. If you can’t track weekly, try monthly. Reviews are really personal, and they need time to evolve into something you find beneficial.

Buster Benson, an entrepreneur and a former product leader at Amazon, Twitter, Slack, and Patreon, says he schedules his as a recurring meeting with himself: “Schedule a 30-minute meeting with yourself to occur in 1 month and to recur every month after that. Make the meeting non-negotiable, and if for some reason it has to be rescheduled, reschedule it but don’t cancel it.

A monthly meeting with yourself can help you clarify the actions and high-value activities you need to focus on for another month. A better idea about what you are doing wrong can help you do more of what works and less of what steals your time.

When you look back, check for any patterns in your actions. There are certain things that allow us to complete more goals, while other things end up making us less productive. Watch for both. It doesn’t matter how much you time you put in your daily actions, only whether those actions take you closer to finishing your outcome goal. Any goal worth setting is worth measuring.

Originally published on Medium.

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